We are doing our best to answer all of the incoming questions from our clients about how business owners can transition their businesses during social distancing. Below is a list of creative solutions we've seen working for local businesses. It has been encouraging to see businesses adapt to such a big challenge. Our hope is that some of these ideas can help more of our community and beyond.
1. Instructors/Teachers: (Dancing, Education, Trade, Etc.)
This is one of the easiest transitions to make. Fortunately there are many platforms in place to help instructers and teachers not only create and organize courses, but to monetize them as well. Here is a list of platform solutions for those looking to go virtual.
Website Platforms (Wix, Wordpress, etc.)
Google Classroom (FREE)
2. Dealerships/Vehicle Servicing:
We saw multiple solutions to this industry. Some dealers have chosen to close the sales floor and focus on the service department, while others are taking a different approach. At any rate, here were the local solutions owners came up with.
Drop off Service department (Drop off/Pickup keys in a box and bill electronically)
Increasing the number of online representatives to assist your clients electronically
Home test drive (bringing the car to the client directly)
Delayed payment options for 90 days
Take-out only orders are the way to go right now. Some businesses are also choosing to transition hosting and wait staff to delivery staff. Businesses are encouraged to leave deliveries outside the house on spaces such as the porch and then confirm via text, phone, or site confirmation.
If you sell products then you're in one of the easiest industries to transition to a virtual store-front. There are two primary ways to serve your customers remotely. Just today we heard a story about a woman who transitioned her business online a week ago and it is performing better than her brick and mortar did.
Host online live watch parties (similar to MLM formatting using numbers and pairing and have clients claim them via live comment using the correlating number.)
Create an online store using a platform (Custom Website such as Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, or other platforms such as Shopify, Big Commerce, Facebook, etc.)
This by far was was the most unique solution we have seen people come up with. Have you heard of Porch Pictures? Well this particular photography service was born just for the Coronavirus.
Photographers are offering "Porch Pictures" to whole neighborhoods. They sign up and pay remotely and the photography comes around to a select neighborhood and takes a handful of images of each family in their moment in history.
Alternatively, photographers can collaborate with wedding planners (see the section below) to assist in "Elopement Weddings".
Lastly, College and Highschool Seniors, as well as those who planned to attend Prom, would likely love an opportunity to throw a mini celebration. By scheduling mini sessions with blank 10 to 20-minute slots between every session, would allow you to take images of clients in remote areas (where you can comply with 6 feet distancing rules) but still celebrate their accomplishments.
6. Wedding Planners
If you're a wedding planner, odds are that your clients have begun canceling their bookings with you since large groups are discouraged. There is still something you can do.
Help plan an elopement for your client for a bundled rate. This includes a handful of close family/friends, an officiant, unique photography, flower arranging, a localized honeymoon, and other remotely offered services.
Assure your client you can "shelf" the reception and will be happy to include a small discount for committing (via contract) to you for their future celebration.
7. Interior Designers
We know, most people are actually home right now. But there is a market that will allow you to keep working without breaking social distancing compliance. Home staging is often used by realtors to sell a home. This would provide you a safe work environment and a continued market as there will be future listings.
If owners are home, you can request that they isolate to a particular room while you work.
Alternatively, some listed homes are already empty. This is the most ideal situation for using your gift and complying with social distancing.
This group of individuals fall under the "essential" category in most cases. However, they are still needing to be creative to maintain the market.
Use services like photography, videography, and drone videography to give clients a killer virtual look at their dream property on your listing website.
Use social media to do virtual walk-throughs of your listings and post updated listings on your feed.
If clients are especially interested in a property schedule exclusive virtual walk-throughs and answer any questions live.
Assign an isolated space to be able to meet up with clients to cover paperwork. In addition offer protective measures.
If you usually host crafter workshops, you can take your service online. The suggestion is to provide your class with a list of materials to pick up/order and lowering your cost for the workshop due to materials not being included. To balance out the difference, remember you are no longer limited by space, which means you can open up your attendance number to support a much larger clientele.
The easiest most inexpensive way to do this would be to create an exclusive Facebook group where you go live and provide instruction as you go to your group.
Alternatively, Zoom would allow you to interact with your class live while they try to perfect their skill.
Though this is a similar solution to our instructor/teacher section. This industry requires a little more tailoring.
If you are already signed up for a personal trainer, some gyms (such as Anytime Fitness) have app integrations that allow you to assign workouts to your trainee. If you are not part of a gym system like this, you can still copy the model by assigning workouts via personally selected apps and trainee monitoring.
If you are a business who wasn't listed or a business that can still serve clients remotely but have noticed a slowdown, then make sure you are doing the following to optimize your online presence while buffering yourself.
Encourage clients to buy gift cards and certificates to be used for your services later. *This gives you a financial cushion for the months ahead but still provides a client with value.
Update information on your platforms to ensure clients have current ways of getting in touch. *The essence of marketing is telling potential clients/customers what is available to them. The only difference now, is that the ENTIRE nation has been pushed to online communication which means your reach just grew exponentially. Take advantage of this by posting tasteful things daily.
Setup virtual and online classes, services, products, or team functions (if possible). *This ensures your continued business even though your brick and mortar is at a standstill.
Communicate what you are doing to help maintain services and client welfare during this time. *Some people are still interested in doing business as usual... make sure you **tastefully** highlight the ways you can help others get through this with your services/products.
Drop overhead that might not be as necessary right now (extra subscriptions that aren't relevant to your actual workflow). *This will give you some financial ease if things slow down for you. Pretty sure my Spotify...although lovely...doesn't affect our ability to create brands 😉.
Close your deals TODAY! *Finish up as much as you can now to use as a financial buffer in case things become more isolated.
Look into business interruption insurance, SBA grants, bridge loans, and other methods to keep your business sustained during hard times. *The declared SoE might open doors specific to sustaining your business.
I hope a good majority of you find this helpful. Please keep in mind, this list is not all-encompassing. If you are a business that isn't on this list and have found some helpful solutions, please reach out to us so we can add them.
We will get through this together!